Pope Francis is dealing with a deeply divided flock when it comes to the Catholic Church’s contemporary ideas on homosexuality. Speaking to nearly 70,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said “God is not afraid of new things. That is why he is continuously surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.” The main “new” thing under consideration by the recent conference of Catholic bishops in Rome was homosexuality–and its potential acceptance by the church as something other than sinful. No such luck.
The two-week long bishop’s conference had at first seemed as if it would make history. Early reports had the church changing its policies and rhetoric against gays and becoming more open, but the final document issuing from the conference rolled back that change.